Herbal tea is very easy to make as all that is needed are some tea leaves, hot water and a natural sweetener if desired. In cases of loose leaf tea, you will also need a tea ball, and if making more than one cup you will need a teapot to steep the tea. If you are only making one cup, then you can steep the herbal tea right in your tea cup.
Herbal tea is a great way to relax the body and mind at the end of the day in order to get a good night’s sleep. It is also helpful for many common ailments such as the common cold, nausea, depression and headaches.
Herbal tea is very inexpensive to make as you can grow your own herbs or buy them in bulk at most health food stores. When buying them in bulk they are usually in dried form, but when you grow them yourself you can use them fresh from the garden. Either way, they taste great and have many health benefits to offer the body. You can also purchase tea already packaged in tea bags for convenience. However, these pre-packaged teas are generally a bit more expensive.
Different Types of Herbal Tea
You can use just about any type of herb to make your herbal tea. You can use one single herb, or a variety of herbs to get a unique flavor.
Some of the popular herbs to use in tea are peppermint, lemon balm, chamomile, hawthorn, passion flower, lemon grass, lavender and rose petals. All of these are great on their own, but combining them in an herbal blend will help to bring about many unique flavors.
How to Measure the Tea
Depending on how strong you like your tea, you can measure anywhere from 1 tsp. to 1 tbsp. for every cup. Some herbs naturally will provide you with a stronger flavor than others, which means you won’t need as much. Additionally, the taste of some herbs will be more favorable, and thus you will naturally want to add in more of what you like. Really, there are no rules as to how much you put in, as long as you and your guests enjoy the flavorful blend.
If you are only making a single cup, then you can measure your herbs into a tea ball or into an infuser and steep the tea in your tea cup. On the other hand, if you are making more than one cup you can use a tea pot that allows you to steep several cups at once. If you don’t have a tea ball or an infuser, you can simply add the tea directly into the pot and strain it through a cheese cloth once it has steeped long enough. I personally like to use the Teamaster from Teopia, which has a nice straining mesh at the bottom that prevents any herb particles from coming through into your tea.
Steeping the Tea
Herbal tea needs to steep in hot water for about 3 to 15 minutes in order to obtain all the richness of the tea. Naturally, the longer you allow the tea to steep, the stronger it becomes. If you are new to drinking tea then you might not enjoy it too strong, and might only want to steep it for 3 to 5 minutes or so depending on how much you enjoy the flavor.
The water should always be heated before the herbs are added because if they are heated along with the water, the heating process can destroy some of the nutrients in the tea.
Sweeteners and Other Ingredients
Natural sweeteners such as honey, agave nectar and stevia are great ways to naturally sweeten the tea. Just don’t add sugar or other artificial sweeteners as they can interfere with the nutritional benefits of the tea. Dairy should also be avoided for the same reasons. Nut milk, on the other hand, is great for a creamy herbal tea.